Kung-Fu Panda 2 ***


“Kung-Fu Panda” was a fun little film that really surprised me back in 2008.  It was also the first movie I took my son to see in the theatres when he was three.  Now comes the sequel, which is a little darker and a little more violent, but still lots of fun. 

The story this time goes in to the origins of Po the Panda, voiced again by Jack Black.  We learn that he is not actually the biological son of a goose.  Turns out he was part of a clan of other Pandas who were all exterminated by the evil Lord Shen, voiced by Gary Oldman.  Eventually Lord Shen returns and threatens peace in the Valley and only Po and the Furious Five can stop him.

Basically this movie is an extension of the first.  The color palette this time is curiously darker.  Most of the action takes place at night, or in dark towers and fiery pits.  The big action sequence at the end involves Po and his crew stopping an armada of gun ships.  It is one of the best animated action sequences I have seen this year.

“Panda 2” shows that this could be a lucrative franchise.  I chose not to see it in 3D and I am glad I did.  The film is darker then the original, which would look even darker with 3D glasses on. 


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